Modularizing Transformations Subtitle: A goal-oriented design tool of a modular four-bar linkage mechanism

Advisors: Prof. Terry Knight, Prof. Hiroshi Ishii

Recent advances in materials science and manufacturing technology have not only provided promising opportunities for industrial and product design but have also catalyzed the emerging areas of transformable material design. This field of transformable material design is a typical multidisciplinary subject that provokes and inspires researchers to innovate. Especially in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), researches have been looking beyond static, rigid physical interfaces, and explore the rich transformability of input/output devices using transformable materials.

However, most of the transformable materials require a unique mechanism or structure, making them great for specific tasks, but difficult to implement broadly. Moreover, due to the techniques they use, most of them are not reconfigurable. So, is there a reconfigurable transformable material mechanism that can include multiple functions in its structure and can easily switch between them autonomously? If yes, the design space of it would be incredibly large and the following challenge is - how to design with this reconfigurable transformable material mechanism?

As a response to this question, this thesis proposes a modularized mechanism of designing transformable materials, as well as its design tool to help the designer to make reconfigurable transformable material structures. With the design tool, designers can easily explore the huge design space by simply input the design goal that is represented as curves. The tool will automatically generate the desired transformable structures.

Caption & Credit

Image1: the transformable helmet
MIT Media Lab/Tangible Media Group